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Editorial

40 years of CES

November 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Centre for Social Studies. The past 40 years have witnessed not only continuous growth but also a steady consolidation of the guiding lines presiding over the foundation of the Centre: to build a space where cutting-edge research in the social sciences and the humanities would be possible, attracting a growing number of highly qualified researchers coming from very diverse fields; to conduct research under an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective; to develop critical perspectives, not only capable of asking uncomfortable questions and approaching difficult subjects, but also of not being intimidated by ready-made truths, dominant visions or logics of power; to find ways of sharing research results not only within the scientific community, but also within the involved communities at large, under the light of a deep commitment to citizenship. Whether at the level of research, advanced training, or a broad sharing of knowledge, these objectives have been fulfilled, at the same time that institutional consolidation, both nationally and internationally, was achieved.

To reach 40 years of age cannot, however, be just a pretext for a celebration of the past. Rather, it has to provide a foundation for a projection into the future and for putting into perspective renewed possibilities of work and social intervention. Thus, the international conference that has been devised as a central moment of commemoration will have as its guiding line, well expressed in its title, “The imagination of the future. Knowledges, experiences, alternatives,” a critical reflection on a number of topics with relevance for the present and future of research in the social sciences and the humanities in a globalized world. Between the 8th and the 10th of November, in the framework of different panels and with a large time for discussion, a group of first-rate scientists coming from different parts of the world will reflect, on the basis of a critique of the contemporary, on critical or innovative epistemologies and will share counter-hegemonic visions of social knowledge. For the 7th of November, the first day of the conference, the possibility for participation of the scientific community at large – in particular, young researchers – was opened, through a call for papers. The ample space for discussion thus provided will host around 200 papers on a wide diversity of relevant research topics. 

The 40 years of the Centre for Social Studies are also 40 years under the enlightened and visionary leadership of Boaventura de Sousa Santos. To project an imagination of the future in the atmosphere of intense intellectual debate that has been a running thread throughout 40 years will undoubtedly build the best way of offering the spiritus rector of the Centre the homage he so amply deserves. Thus, the conference in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of CES will be, indissolubly, a conference to honour Boaventura de Sousa Santos.

Antonio Sousa Ribeiro
Coordinator of the Executive Board

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